Despite the relative calm following the storm that was the House and Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on the closing of the Joint Forces Command last week, the skirmish over JFCOM continues – although on a somewhat smaller scale.
First, it was announced this week Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates planned to meet with Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va.) about the proposed closing of the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., according to a report on HamptonRoads.com.
Virginia legislators have decried the lack of openness from the Pentagon in determining what to put on the chopping block. When Gates announced the plan to close JFCOM — which employs 6,000 people (about half of whom are contractors) and has an annual budget of about $1 billion – they wrote letters and demanded rationalizations for the plan during congressional hearings.
On C-SPAN, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Westmoreland) tried to dispel the idea that lawmakers opposing JFCOM’s closing are doing so only in the “parochial” interest of savings jobs and resources.
“It’s about the strategic interest of this nation,” he said, according to The Daily Press.
JFCOM’s closing – or at least the reactions to that idea – likely have national implications, The Washington Post conjectured in an Oct. 5 editorial.
“If you think the howls of the Virginia delegation about eliminating JFCOM have been loud, wait until the veterans organizations see the first steps toward limiting military retirees’ health-care benefits,” which The Post suggests could be the next step in Pentagon efficiencies.